The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/24/13 at 03:51 PM ET
Updated at 5:33 PM: As Paul noted, the Red Wings' present and underachieving roster received a downright remarkable show of support from GM Ken Holland via the CBC's Elliotte Friedman this morning, and given that the Wings have lost six of their past eight games, including last night's ugly 3-0 home "fiaskot" (as they say in Swedish) to the Islanders.
Things have obviously gotten worse now that Jonathan Ericsson will miss 3-5 weeks after suffering broken ribs last night against the Islanders, but I firmly believe that this team will "stay the course," though I hope that Ericsson's injury spurns the Wings to more aggressively pursue the top-three defenseman the team needs even more now that Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser are numbers one and two.
The blog entry must go on, however, and I also thought that this quip from Friedman was worth mentioning:
Strong work by HBO's 24/7 to get the audio of Randy Carlyle's tirade during last week's 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers after the Maple Leafs head coach prevented them from going into the room. Very creative. Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock was not quoted when he shut the doors (I'd bet Glenn Healy's cellar full of Chardonnay that Babcock shut off the mic). Hockey Night in Canada once did a "Day in the Life" feature with Babcock ("I got no butter") and, during private meetings, it was off. That guy misses nothing.
The man speaks emphatically and carries a big stick of paranoia about his image as it's portrayed in the media. I was told that he made the Wings' interns print out and highlight each and every instance in which he was quoted by the press during the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals so that he could keep track of who was trying to put words in his mouth.
The Wings feature prominently in several "Best of 2013" lists--as you might imagine, TSN and CBS Sports mention Daniel Alfredsson's departure from Ottawa and return on December 1st as a member of the Wings as pivotal moments--and the Wings received a "stocking stuffer" from Sportsnet's Ryan Dixon...
Detroit Red Wings: A player who could grow into the superstar they’ll need when Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are gone.
We'll get back to that in a minute...
I'm surprised at how low Pavel Datsyuk finished in SI's Allan Muir's list of the 13 best players of 2013...
5. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings: He’s not just a human highlight reel, the guy most likely to dance through an entire team before leaving the goalie’s jockstrap hanging from the rafters. Datsyuk is the one superstar every other player admires, a perennial Selke Trophy candidate who plays the game hard and honest in all three zones. “I can’t do what Datsyuk does on the ice, but I can learn small stuff that I can learn for my game,” said Red wings center Joakim Andersson, speaking for every other player in the NHL.
But Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner posited a much, much more Wing-friendly list of the "top moments" from the Wings' 2013 season. I'm going with "moments" 7 and 9 as the most important ones:
7. Datsyuk re-signs: Pavel Datsyuk, who many speculated would return home to Russia after the 2013-14 season, signs a three-year contract extension to stay in Detroit.
With Datsyuk looking comfortable in the Kontinental Hockey League during the lockout, it looked he might go back there and be on a farewell tour this NHL season. Instead, Datsyuk, 35, will continue to do his magic for the Red Wings for year to come.
9. DeKeyser bolsters defense: Agreeing to terms with unrestricted free-agent defenseman Danny DeKeyser filled a hole on defense that might have secured a playoff spot for the Red Wings. In fact, coach Mike Babcock sayid as as much when DeKeyser suffered a broken thumb in the first-round series against the Ducks.
DeKeyser, a Detroit native, was a hot commodity on the free-agent market after a successful career at Western Michigan, and proved in just 13 games last season that he has the skill and demeanor to be an elite defenseman.
And, for what it's worth, USA Today's Kevin Allen is still listing Jimmy Howard as Team USA's third-best option in goal. Howard will find out whether he made the U.S. Olympic cut when the men's and women's Olympic hockey team rosters are announced on January 1st.
Regarding that potential superstar talk, Jake Paterson's not exactly Petr Mrazek in the making quite yet, but TSN's Mark Masters points us toward a TSN video in which Team Canada World Junior team coach Darryl Sutter talks up his proable starter...
And while I can't embed his video report, Masters duly noted that Paterson's won the starting job over Zach Fucale.
RW ANTHONY MANTHA, VAL-D'OR (QMJHL)
"The Detroit Red Wings strike gold again with one of their draft picks as the big winger has been lights-out in dominating the Q in scoring this season. Mantha's size and speed should complement his linemates as well as the power play, where he can utilize his heavy one-timer." [Dan Stewart, Future Considerations Hockey director of scouting]
And ESPN prospect "insider" Corey Pronman profiled the only Red Wings prospects taking part in the World Juniors as part of Team Canada scouting report:
Fucale came in as the likely starter for Canada, but Canada's coach, Brent Sutter, may lean to fellow netminder Jake Paterson after a good exhibition game versus Sweden (as ill-advised as that may sound).
Jake Paterson, G, Detroit Red Wings: Paterson was the No. 3 goaltender for Canada at last year's event and, as noted above, he is making a push to be the starter for Canada this season. His numbers in the OHL are just OK, but he's an athletic goaltender with a good frame and the ability to make tough stops. He's not a perfectly well-rounded goalie and still has work to do in the minute details of his game, but he has the ability to steal a game, which may be desirable for a short tournament.
Anthony Mantha, LW, Detroit Red Wings: Mantha is a prospect with great natural gifts and has been on fire in the QMJHL this season. He's a big-body forward with excellent speed, good puck skills and can finish his chances pretty well, including a good mid-distance shot. His physical and defensive play aren't his best assets, but he can flash competency in those areas at times and has improved. He will likely be used at the World Juniors in a power-play role, leaning on his offensive gifts.
I haven't seen a Wings prospect come into the summer development camp as lost as Mantha was, only to emerge from the prospect tournament as one of the team's key performers. He's a huge man at 6'5" and 209 pounds (and he's still growing into his frame), he's tearing up the Quebec league with 35 goals, 38 assists and 72 points registered over only 32 games thus far, and he works very hard to improve his game both on the ice and in the weight room.
I still believe that Calle Jarnkrok, Teemu Pulkkinen and Tomas Jurco are the current jewels in the Wings' prospect pipeline (at least in terms of forwards), but Mantha's rising and rising fast as someone who could truly be "special."
Otherwise...Another prospect who is more "in progress" as opposed to rapidly developing in Clarkson Golden Knights defenseman James de Haas (a 6'3," 210-pound puck-mover) received the following mention in the Golden Knights' weekly press release...
Freshman blueliner James de Haas (Mississauga, ONT) has scored six points (2-4), leading Clarkson's rookies in scoring
If you wonder amateur scout Marty Stein and other scouts do when they're not busy scouting players, the Vernon Morning Star reports that Stein will help organize the Coca-Cola Pee Wee Invitational Hockey Classic in Vernon, BC during the Olympic break;
The Toledo Walleye are wearing "Ugly Christmas Sweater" jerseys on December 28th, and the Walleye told the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe that they're hoping for some audience participation as well...
The Walleye will be wearing special jerseys designed to look like ugly sweaters for its game Saturday against Cincinnati.
The uniforms feature reindeer and snowflakes with the fish on the Walleye logo donning a Santa Claus hat. The team has held an Ugly Sweater Night every season.
“I think it's great,” Walleye rookie defenseman C.J. Chartrain said. “It's fun for the fans and it's also cool for the players. I'm a big Christmas fan, so I'm definitely excited about the ugly sweater jerseys.”
Fans also are encouraged to wear an ugly sweater to the game.
And finally, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke with Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard about their Christmas-themed gear...
Both Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek hope to show their enthusiasm for the holiday season soon.
“It’s just for fun,” said Mrazek, of his new red and white leg pads featuring six large snowflakes and a top-hat wearing snowman. “Teammates, I think they like it. They’re like, ‘It’s cool. No one has that idea before.’ I knew a couple people didn’t like it, they think it’s ugly or they think it’s like a kid, but no one has it before so I think it’s a good idea.”
Mrazek said he got the idea of the snowman pads from Grand Rapids trainer Brett Thompson. However, Mrazek’s plans for the specially designed pads depend on the health of Howard (sprained knee) and backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin). If Mrazek is up with the Wings he’ll wear them the NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor on New Year’s Day, otherwise he’ll wear them for the Griffins’ AHL game against the Toronto Marlies during the Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park on Dec. 30.
“I love it,” Mrazek said.
Meanwhile, Howard, who has missed the last seven games, had planned to donate a specially designed mask that was to be auctioned by the U.S. Marines Corps Reserves Toys for Tots. The original plan was for Howard to wear the mask once, Monday against the New York Islanders.
“I told them I’d do it this year, but since the knee injury happened, I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to wear it,” Howard said. “I don’t know if I’m going to hold off until next year with it or wear it when I come back after Christmas.”
And the Red Wings just posted a video wishing you a merry merry:
Update: The Hockey News's Ronnie Shuker tells a tale about the 1935-1936 Detroit Red Wings...
Jack Adams was talking to another player on the Detroit Red Wings bench when an eager Pete Kelly jumped over the boards to replace a tired Larry Aurie, at the end of a shift.
Kelly, a checking-line right winger, wasn’t supposed to be on the ice when he took a pass from Herbie Lewis and scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 of the 1936 final. It was Detroit’s first Stanley Cup, but coach-GM ‘Jolly’ Jack Adams didn’t send Kelly onto the ice and he wasn’t pleased he went out.
“He still gave him hell when he got back to the bench,” said hockey historian Bob Duff.
Adams would loosen up later in the dressing room and have his first taste of alcohol after sipping champagne from the Cup. He won it as a player for the Toronto Arenas in 1917-18, but it was his first as coach and GM. It was also the first of two consecutive Cups for the Red Wings and the first back-to-back championships by an American team. And the despotic Adams was the team’s galvanizing point.
“He was the uniting factor,” Duff said. “They all united in hating Jack Adams. They were a real tight bunch. There was a real harmony with the club and they all got along well. That’s what carried the day for them – that they genuinely all liked each other and wanted to play hard for each other. He was always on them and really never let up. It didn’t seem to matter who you were.
“Everybody had a turn in his doghouse.”
Adams was the architect of the 1935-36 Detroit Red Wings, but the team was built thanks to owner James Norris Sr., who financed the club from his multi-million-dollar grain empire. The franchise was floundering on and off the ice and changed its nickname from the Falcons to the Red Wings. When ‘Big Jim’ took over the team, he became to Adams what Adams was to the players – demanding. He gave Adams just one year to turn the team around, but unlike previous owners, Norris promised him all the money he needed to do it
“From the day Norris bought the team he said, ‘Tell me what you need to win,’ ” Duff said. “They’d been rubbing nickels together to try and turn them into quarters up until that point.”
I will delicately state that there's one good hit and one "bad" hit in SI's Michael Blinn's "NHL's 13 biggest hits" compliation;
And Pavel Datsyuk apparently took part in a photo shoot for Team Russia recently:
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.